ATL Film Workshop Prepares Takers for Potential New Job Creators: Filmmakers

I’m under no illusions: Birmingham is not Hollywood. Heck, it’s not even Atlanta when it comes to the business of filmmaking and video creation. But I believe it can be.

It has everything a moviemaker could want: historic old buildings, gritty urban alleys, antebellum homes, rolling hills, and suburban oases. And if we expand our vision to the state at large, we have waterways and lakes, picturesque towns, sandy white beaches, not to mention places of historical significance for the Civil War to Civil Rights. (We wrote about this topic years ago in our article, “Birmingham Rolls Out the Red Carpet for Hollywood.)

Yes, Alabama is far behind the curve among states that offer tax and other incentives (like Michigan and Louisiana) to draw location scouts to consider Birmingham and other parts of Alabama. But we are getting there.

In 2009, the Alabama Legislature passed a $10 million film incentive package to draw filmmakers to the state. That package includes money for the Alabama Industrial Development Training center, also called AIDT. Right now, it is looking for folks in the film industry to teach training classes through its Empact Alabama program.

Why? Because television, movie and video producers have told AIDT that they want people trained and ready to go to work when (not if) they bring their projects to Alabama.

So those with a heart and passion to learn more about this job-creating industry should try to make it out to this weekend’s event, In the Mix, sponsored by my good friends over at

In the Mix is actually that the Georgia Entertainment Association hosts in Atlanta. But its current president and others involved in film making and training see Birmingham as a land of opportunity, and want to connect with folks here who dream of working in the industry.

Besides standing in front of the camera (a rare spot for the majority of us), there are many other more mundane but necessary jobs behind the camera that are part of making movies and TV shows.

My friend Tahiera Monique Brown, a casting director who has worked in film and TV, excited rattled off a list of jobs associated when I asked her about it.

“There are so many different skills needed in the industry: set designers, clothing designers, hair designers. It needs people with artistic skills to develop storyboards, people with accounting skills to manage budgets, electricians, engineers and grips for people who like to work with machinery. If you like working with people, you might want to get into casting, If you like telling people what to do, you might want to be a director of photography. Or you like bringing all the elements together as an editor, or you want to create music that goes with the video. There is so much work that makes a show.” (Tahiera said much more, but I couldn’t type  that fast to keep up!)

The point is, you can come to the In the Mix mixer on Friday night and hobnob with folks like actor Brad James of “Single Ladies,” and others in the biz. But those who are not star struck but serious about making contacts and potential contracts in the industry ought to come and should seriously think about registering for the Saturday workshops.

He will be teaching a class on acting skills, while Roman James,  CEO of Actors’ Innovative Resource, will teach another class focusing on the basics and more technical aspects acting as a business. Also, Hadjii Hand, Actor/Director/Creator of “Somebodies,” BET’s first scripted show, hosts a workshop focusing on the business and art of script writing.

The all-day sessions combined are $129 for the two acting classes and $49 for the script-writing classes.

If indeed moviemakers are coming this way, and you really want to prepare yourself for a future career in their business, the weekend event is a good place to start.


In the Mix Birmingham
Friday, July 29, 2011
Location: The Highland Conference Center
2012 Magnolia Avenue in Five Points South
(Next to Cosmos Pizza)
Time: 6pm – 10pm

Admission: $10

Acting & Film Workshops
Saturday, July 30, 2011
Location: The Highland Conference Center
2012 Magnolia Avenue in Five Points South
Time: 10am – 5pm
(Next to Cosmos Pizza)
Cost: $49 to $99 per session.

For more information please click on the links below.

In the Mix Birmingham

Acting & Film Workshop

The Business of Acting – Roman James

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